The last time Chris Carpenter appeared in a big league game, he was leading the Cardinals to a Game 7 victory in the World Series on just three days of rest.
His teammates can't help but hope for a repeat performance next month.
The Cardinals will welcome their ace back to the mound for the first time in 2012 when he makes his season debut Friday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. And they know doing so only increases their chances of repeating last year's magical run.
"It's going to be huge," said starter Adam Wainwright. "If he's as healthy as we think he is and he pitches as well as we think he's going to, he's a force to be reckoned with. He makes our team that much better. We've had one of the best rotations in the National League already and you add a guy like that, you make our team very dangerous.
"Last year one of the big reasons we won was because he was so incredible the second half of the season and the playoffs. Just getting him back is huge."